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Been revising - Astrobolism!

About Been revising

Previous Entry Been revising May. 5th, 2009 @ 06:48 pm Next Entry
Been revising, a novel, my first. It's an interesting process, satisfying in a very different way than writing a rough draft, more orderly, deliberate, trying to create something good (or at least better, for now) rather than merely new. It's less exhilarating, maybe, but I'm also finding it more satisfying. By the time I finished the rough draft at the end of last year I was sick of the whole thing and very much looking forward to shoving it into a drawer for a few months. When I pulled it out again this April I found a few great parts and a few terrible parts, with huge stretches of mediocrity in between. Some good action scenes and description, lots of appalling dialogue, and at least four metaphors and similes involving sausages, which I estimate is about the right number for my next ten novels. I turned out one and half chapters-worth of mostly cosmetic changes and started to despair, because though the writing was a bit shinier, the heart of the story was basically identical. A week ago I had a half-night of insomnia where I couldn't stop obsessing about logical and historical problems in my setting and plot. At some point I remembered Kafka's sword-bearing Statue of Liberty at the beginning of Amerika, there was a click, everything shifted a few degrees in my mind, and I fell asleep. I started from scratch in the morning, this time cutting a few scenes and adding a new one to the first chapter. Today I feel like a carpenter renovating a sloppy old house I built long ago without any plans. Some of the wood I used then is rotten, some is splintery but sound, and one or two pieces just need a pass with sandpaper. Now I have a plan, and when I rebuild, what was a house will have a maze in the middle, a waterslide, sun-rooms and crazy-mirrors, and be haunted. (I hope.)
opine
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From:jtglover
Date:May 6th, 2009 01:05 am (UTC)

By gum, that sounds familiar!

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Glad to hear it's slowly coming together. I'm having similar feelings for something longer I've been working on, and I fully expect to have the same experience with my novel. Good luck to you!

(And keep the sausage metaphors coming, I say.)
From:(Anonymous)
Date:May 6th, 2009 06:43 am (UTC)

Re: By gum, that sounds familiar!

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Yes! Sausages, waterslides, and haunted. I want to read this already.

- Keyan
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From:astrobolism
Date:May 7th, 2009 12:11 am (UTC)

Re: By gum, that sounds familiar!

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I've deleted a sausage metaphor and replaced it with a caper simile!
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From:astrobolism
Date:May 7th, 2009 12:09 am (UTC)

Re: By gum, that sounds familiar!

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I'm very excited about it right now, but I have a feeling that every few months I'm going to get discouraged again and start the cycle over--I get that's okay, because so far each time I break through a discouragement it involves a way to make the thing a tiny bit better.
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From:fruitbane
Date:May 6th, 2009 06:44 am (UTC)
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I'm glad for this break in your silence and I look forward to seeing this published somewhere.
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From:astrobolism
Date:May 6th, 2009 11:58 pm (UTC)
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Thanks!
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From:bruorton
Date:May 6th, 2009 03:40 pm (UTC)
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Hm, interesting. I'm encouraged that a project like that can actually start to make sense at some point. My work seems to have reverted, for a little while anyway, to the opposite end of the scale from yours, but the architectural analogy sometimes holds... I can wrap my mind around the design for a single poem. But your report that even a much larger work can begin to have a structural coherency gives me hope. About how long is it, at present, out of curiosity?
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From:astrobolism
Date:May 7th, 2009 12:03 am (UTC)
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Well, the rough draft I'm working from is about 108K words. I have no real idea how long this next draft will be--I'd feel okay with it shrinking or growing, at this point.
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From:mr_earbrass
Date:June 9th, 2009 01:29 pm (UTC)
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Been spotty of online presence down these last few moths so I'm just seeing this--love your carpentry metaphor for the project, got some resonance with that sentiment. Again, good luck!
(opine)
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